The night of December 26, 1998 becoming the early morning of the 27th. Sitting alone in a hotel room. Still in the shock and depression of hours earlier. It was the other coast, just a few miles from the airport where she was supposed to meet me. She didn't. Upon calling her number I was told to never call again.

I wanted to cry so bad - to let it just go. The pent up feeling of loss just sitting there like a pit. It would be so much easier just to fall asleep. It took hours to finaly become tired enough to sleep.

The re-adjusted flight back (two weeks to two days) wasn't until early morning on the 28th. I wished it could have been sooner - there were too many memories forming; memories I didn't want. I had a day that I didn't know what to do with. Spending it sitting in my room for the next 36 hours wasn't at the top of the list. I took the light rail to the city, hoping to find something to take my mind off of her.

I also had a toy that was to be for her little brother. There were too many memories attached to things - I didn't want to bring them back with me. After wandering around for awhile, I eventually found a church where I could leave a donation and be assured that someone got it. Leaving it on the doorstep just wouldn't do. Someone had to enjoy it, even if it wasn't her little brother.

A young boy looked at me strangely seeing that I had given a toy away and had a glisten of a tear in my eye. "Why is he crying Mommy?" I hurried away.

There aren't many museums open right after Christmas. Eventually I found the aquarium that was open, and wandered through it - anything to take my mind off where I was. It had a nice greenhouse at the top, warm and humid with tropical plants - a stark contrast to the snow outside. There were couples walking around, holding hands. I didn't stay long.

Just outside, the Hard Rock Cafe. She was supposed to have reservations there for us the day before. The speakers outside where playing the Beatles...

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly, I'm not half to man I used to be,
There's a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.

Why she had to go I don't know she wouldn't say.
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play.
Now I need a place to hide away.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.
I suddenly lost my appetite and any hope for a enjoyable lunch.

I went to the book store next to it. Wandered about the science fiction section for a bit, then went over to the philosophy section. An encyclopedia of philosophy quotes. I opened to a random page:

Until a man has expressed his emotion, he does not yet know what emotion it is. The act of expressing it is therefore an exploration of his own emotions. He is trying to find out what these emotions are.
--Collingwood, The Principles of Art, P. 111
The book sits this day along with my most valued books on philosophy.

The plane left the next day at 5:30 AM. Despite hours of delay at the layover, it felt comfortable to get back to my apartment. I had two weeks of vacation from work. It took me awhile to even get to the point where I felt comfortable wandering around. I went walking one day. Just put one foot in front of the other, and keep going. Eventually I found a rail station for the train that went past my apartment, and I realized I had walked almost 15 miles. I took the train back.

I went back to work a week before my vacation was over. My co-workers were surprised to see me. The topic of what happened quickly became a taboo subject.

Over two years later, as I type these words, they bring tears to my eyes. Yet, they are still not expressed.

I wish I could cry.

A winter's day in a deep and dark December, I am alone
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow

I am a rock, I am an island

I've built walls, a fortress deep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need for friendship, friendship causes pain
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain

I am a rock, I am an island

Don't talk of love, well I've heard the word before
It's sleeping in my memory
I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died
If I'd never loved, I never would have cried

I am a rock, I am an island

I have my books and my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me

I am a rock, I am an island
And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries

(I am a Rock by Simon and Garfunkel)

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